Kochavim campers, the great outdoors,community building and walking in the steps of our ancient Israelite ancestors? Must be the Kochavim “Exodus Adventure!” In case you don’t know about this great program, the Exodus Adventure is a Kochavim program that involves an ‘exodus from Egypt’ (the beach) via canoe to the promised land of Israel (Gan Matan, the new land and garden across the lake), where Kochavim campers then spend the night (the girls are there one night and the boys another) learning about their Jewish heritage and also bonding with their cabinmates.
This program truly symbolizes the Jewish journey that our Kochavim campers are embarking on in their own lives, transitioning from children to young adults with the passage of their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Read on to learn more about our summer 2012 Exodus program!
Before they could escape from Egypt, campers were first broken into tribes and given an identity. While on camp, they participated in a scavenger hunt to collect the 10 plagues. To collect a plague, campers had to perform a task, such as leap frogging across a field to earn the frog plague or linking arms like a “swarm of locusts” and descending down a hill. The tribes were given a set time to meet at the Canoe docks, and tried to collect as many plagues as they could before departure.
Campers and staff then crossed the Red Sea (aka Maple Lake) and paddled their way across to Mount Sinai (a public beach), where each tribe was given two commandments to create in tableau form. Afterwards, campers were asked to come up with camp-specific commandments of their own, such as “Respect your cabinmate.” After completing this task, campers were finally free from Egypt and continued their watery passage to the Promised Land.
Upon reaching the Promised Land, campers finally breathed a sigh of relief, some even enjoying a quick dip in the shallows of the Mediterranean (again, Maple Lake)! Feeling refreshed, our tribes then worked to “settle the land” by helping prepare food for dinner, watering the plants in our organic garden, setting up tents and collecting firewood. Lastly, before digging into a delicious campfire style dinner, each group worked together to create a plaque representing their tribe, painting symbols and words that reflected the qualities of their ancient tribe of Israel. These plaques now feature prominently in the hangar located at Gan Matan, as each tribe left an artistic heirloom for future Kochavim campers to enjoy.
Following dinner, everyone took part in an independence ritual which included raising the Israeli flag, singing Hatikvah and receiving dog tag necklaces that read “Kochavim: The Exodus Adventure” to mark the end of the expedition. Finally, as the moon glowed in the night sky, campers participated in a meaningful evening program where they talked about their role models and shared stories about how these role models have helped influence their decisions and who they are as young Jewish adults today.
See what Rabbi Noam Katz, Dean of Jewish Living, Darren Laser, 2012 Kochavim Unit Head and some of our Kochavim campers had to say about the program!
– Can’t wait to see our 2013 Exodus Adventure in action!
What Our Community Members Have To Say About the Exodus Adventure:
Noam Katz: The Exodus Adventure is the true embodiment of experiential outdoor Jewish education. Campers must work together to overcome a series of challenges and build community and, in doing so, they walk in the footsteps of their ancient ancestors as they re-enact the Exodus story. It’s an awe-inspiring thing to watch.
Darren Laser: After 3 summers of experience and involvement as a counselor and unit head with the Kochavim Exodus Adventure, I can tell you that the program offers a unique educational opportunity. Everyone gets to experience fun filled activities ranging from team based challenges to canoeing across Maple Lake with their friends, all with a final goal of the arrival of the unit at Gan Matan, the new land.This is definitely one of the most amazing programs at camp, and allows for fantastic programming, experiential learning and a unique sense of what Jewish camping is all about.
Miles: It was amazing to be with friends on a real Jewish journey as though we were completing the journey of our ancestors long ago.
Sarah P: Well, I would say my favourite part would have to be getting to hang out with all my friends, and have it be just the girls. The girls in my cabin are like my sisters, and getting to spend time with them was just great. The “Exodus Adventure” program was something I really enjoyed, and think that everyone else will also.
A.J.: My favourite part was probably just staying up all night and telling jokes and stories in my tent.
Hannah: I enjoyed spending time with my cabin and getting to know people from other cabins as well.
David: I liked doing the different challenges and earning the plagues.
Sarah G: I liked designing the plaques because it was creative and fun. I liked the fact that we mixed up cabins so we could hang out with other people.
Ben: It was fun to go camping and enjoy nature which is something we can only do at camp!
Elly: My favorite part was bonding with my friends.